We live in a world where anyone can click a few buttons and get what they want delivered directly to their doorstep. So it’s more important than ever for retail stores to create a shopping experience to rival that of any website and that offers the instant gratification that even overnight shipping can’t offer.
While you can’t prevent all your shoppers from going online, there are plenty of steps retail business owners can take to help grow their businesses. Aside from making sure that all of your employees are offering stellar customer service, you can optimize the merchandising and displays in your store to help encourage shoppers to stay longer, spend more, and build loyalty with your brand.
Aim for space. Grid, loop, and free-flow layouts are all common and popular in retail stores, but whatever you decide on, make sure shoppers have clear aisles and plenty of room to maneuver bigger carts that can hold more items. Allow for a “decompression zone” that gives shoppers room to assess the store layout as soon as they walk in; avoid merchandising within the first few feet of the front door.
Merchandise for loyalty — and surprise. If you carry items that customers shop for the most, put them in the back of the store to keep them walking the aisles longer instead of running in and out. Showcase unusual inventory in a way that will surprise first-time visitors, too, and make sure your merchandising and signage highlight new products to get all customers excited to buy from your store.
Remember that people shop like they drive. Customers usually walk into a store and take a right turn, much like how drivers operate here in the US. It’s also natural to use our eyes to scan from side to side instead of looking up and down, much like we do when we operate in traffic. Keep vertical displays under about 2-feet wide so shoppers can take it all in at once.
Placement is everything. Bending over to find an item or asking an employee to help reach a product could prevent shoppers from wanting to look for items. Make sure you’re merchandising between knee and eye level so shoppers can find exactly what they’re looking for. Save wall space up high for signage, and place slow-moving inventory exactly where people can see it first — at eye level.
Don’t worry about perfection. While perfectly-aligned rows of items may look nice, shoppers may be afraid to pick up products and “mess up” your merchandising. Keep this in mind when placing items on the sales floor, and also when you’re choosing merchandising displays. Even the flashiest display could turn off customers if they’re afraid of ruining the aesthetics of your store.
Educate and inform with displays. Finding an employee who can answer questions about inventory can intimidate and even stress out shoppers, tying up resources that could be spent on other business processes or customers. Use merchandising displays to give customers the information they need to make a purchase decision, like prices, ingredients, and special features.
Keep it together. Merchandise like items together so customers can get everything they may need while they’re shopping inside the store. This reduces shopper frustration and helps build loyalty and familiarity with your store’s inventory and layout.
And keep it clean. All of the most amazing and optimized merchandising layouts and displays mean nothing if they’re dusty, dirty, and poorly maintained. How you take care of your store is a direct reflection of how you take care of your customers.
Check out your check-out area. Keep your checkout area tidy and uncluttered so customers can place products, purses, and other shopping bags on top for convenience and ease of shopping. Don’t overlook the importance of using point of sale merchandising to help upsell customers and boost your bottom line.
Switch it up. Take a close look at weekly sales and inventory counts so you don’t end up with an empty display and no product to fill it with. Also plan to put newer products up front in new displays, letting your regulars know there’s something special to be paying attention to on this trip to your store.
Looking to use your store merchandising to help grow your profit margins? Along with these tips from our pros, consider investing in custom merchandising displays for your store. From our award-winning design services to printing, assembly, fulfillment, and logistics, we offer a full range of visual merchandising services to retailers who are looking to grow their business and their bottom line.